If You Have a Yen for Lotsa Action Try “009-1: The End of the Beginnning”

CAUTION: May lose something in the translation
CAUTION: May lose something in the translation

The introduction informs us that the setting is Japan at some point in the future.

Cut to scenes of writhing and scantlly clad female bodies in a club where a tattooed gangster named Stinger (hey, I don’t make these names up) casually shoots a waiter for serving him a steak that is not rare enough.

There are assorted gasps and screams and the stage of half-naked girls quickly empties except for a lone dancer who eyes the killer provocatively.

“I’ve had many women but never one like you before,” the gangster says approvingly after the inevitable tryst.

Correct, Stinger-san! That’s because the woman in question is actually a cyborg agent.

“So the rumors are true, You are no ordinary human,” says a soldier. “You’re a monster?”

The woman, who goes by the designation of 009-1 (and is played in skintight red leather and matching thigh high boots by plucky young Mayuko Iwasa) pauses for a moment, then whispers into  his ear. “I’m a beast in the sack. Monstrous enough for you?”

Hold on a minute! Is this the same country that gave us master filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu?

Well, yes and no. The characters seem to be speaking Japanese but the dystopian setting is a land called “J-Country”, a volatile Pacific area which serves as a border zone between the Western and Eastern Blocs.

Ms. 009-1, also known as Milene Hoffman (?), looks like Aubrey Plaza in a certain light (if Aubrey Plaza has been born Japanese and had the kind of MMA skills that would make Ronda Rousey think twice.)

Mayuko Iwasa - an Asian Aubrey Plaza? (well, in a certain light)
Mayuko Iwasa – an Asian Aubrey Plaza? (well, in a certain light)

The script is adapted by Kei’ichi Hasegawa (whose screenwriting credits include such epics as Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!) from a Japanese manga by the late Shotaro Ishinomori. The character was previously adapted for Japanese TV and  anime back in the late 60s and early 70s. This, however, is the first attempt at a feature length film adaptation (the flick leaves the door open – wide open – for sequels.)

Stuntman/filmmaker Koichi Sakamoto, a Jiro of all trades whose credits include the Power Rangers franchise, directs this pic as a combination Quentin Tarantino-B movie exploitation flick. Sorry, horndogs, there are no bare breasts (after the opening scene) but Mr. S. manages to make it fairly salacious anyway. And violent. There is enough blood here to sink a senkan (the Japanese word for “battleship”, or so I am told).

Enough fake blood to sink a senkan
Enough fake blood to sink a senkan

From the title, you might think this is an attempt at a  Japanese James Bond flick. I would peg it more as a Japanese Jean-Claude van Damme made-for-video exercise (with Jean- Claude replaced by a female avenger). And I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way. Gotta say, though, that Ms. Iwasa is a vision in red leather (or a bedsheet, for that matter).

009 = Ms {;aza

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